Japan could offer unapproved Ebola drug

Last updated 19:54, August 25 2014
ARE YOU SAFE? A health worker takes a passenger's temperature with an infrared digital laser thermometer at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan.
Reuters

ARE YOU SAFE? A health worker takes a passenger's temperature with an infrared digital laser thermometer at the Felix Houphouet Boigny international airport in Abidjan.

Japan would like to offer a drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus before the World Health Organisation officially rules on its use, the country's top government spokesman said on Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan has received inquiries from some countries on the influenza drug favipiravir, or T-705 as it is known in the developmental code.

"I am informed that medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision (on approval) by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria," he said.

Protective suits used by infectious disease researchers.
Craig Abraham

Protective suits used by infectious disease researchers.

Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp and US partner MediVector are in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration to submit an application to expand the use of favipiravir as a treatment for Ebola.

Following Suga's comments, Fujifilm shares rose 4.0 percent, edging near a four-year peak hit earlier this month. They were the eighth most actively traded shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 1000 people and prompted the WHO to declare an international health emergency. 

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 - Reuters

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